Edited by David R. Montgomery, Susan Bolton, Derek B. Booth, Leslie Wall

Book Report by Ed Schein

A symposium on Puget Sound river restoration in 2000 brought together regional expertise that fills this thorough volume. Backgrounds include public policy, riparian forestry, stream ecology, hydrology, geomorphology, geology, and civil engineering. Each chapter includes a exhaustive bibliography and each text statement usually includes the source.

Here are titles from several chapters and sample facts from each:

The Geology of Puget Sound Rivers

During the last great earthquake 1,100 years ago on the Seattle Fault, the south side rose as much as 7 meters in the center of the Lowland and the north side subsided about 1 meter.

Uplifts have created lateral boundaries that limit watersheds to a maximum of 4,000 square km. This creates a uniform downstream progression: alpine headwaters, precipitous decline into confined mountain valleys, and slower descent into broad low-gradient lowland valleys.

Reconstructing the Historical Riverine Landscape of the Puget Lowland

Floodplain forests were crucial for jam formation and wood debris capture. Decay-resistant cedar snags removed from Puget Sound rivers averaged 3.6 meters to 5.3 meters diameter according to Army Corps records from 1889-1909.

Scientific, Institutional, and Individual Constraints on Restoring Puget Sound Rivers

Both scientists and policy makers are to blame for society’s inability to deal with restoration challenges. Realizing restoration requires incentives, innovation, vision, and leadership. Bear Creek provides a good example of incentives. All parties have cooperated to protect near-pristine stream banks, extensive wetlands, and major forested upland areas. The stream system is protected because city and county staff worked with landowners on tax incentives, money for easements, and regulations. (Ruckleshaus 2000)

Putting Monitoring First: Designing Accountable Ecosystem Restoration and Management Plans

Most monitoring programs are built on one or more of the following myths:

  • we can monitor anything, its just a matter of figuring out how; we can learn from our management actions alone
  • monitoring can be a separate activity from management.

No! On-the-ground actions must be planned within the context of a monitoring experiment, not after-the-fact.

There are many good examples of restoration projects that work. Remember, this was written in 2003. But it is a must-read for those of us who want restoration of Puget Sound rivers and streams to be success stories.